Sunday, October 14, 2012

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns

Quite a few people seem to hate reboots. Had it not been for Frank Miller's Year One, I might not have even fallen into the comic book world. At least, not respect the Dark Knight as much as I do. So when there's a reboot on a popular character's history, I'm all ears. While Geoff Johns's re-imagining of the mythos doesn't compare to Miller's, or Kane's for that matter, we shouldn't discredit it automatically. Instead, we should embrace it. This isn't the ruining of a character, this is introducing him to another generation of comic book goers.

What stays the same? Batman is still born into the darkness by the murders of his parents. He is still motivated to save the streets of Gotham in the end. And Alfred is still his guardian, friend, and snarky conscience.

The difference is, we have Alfred, not as a butler, but, as an old war acquaintance of Thomas Wayne. Speaking of which, Thomas Wayne is running for mayor of Gotham when he and his wife were killed. Of course, it is believed that the Mayor is responsible for this murder. Who is the mayor, you ask? Oswald Cobblepot. James Gordon is introduced as a broken man. Not crooked, just defeated by the ways of Gotham – his wife was killed in an auto accident which he believes was fixed. Harvey Bullock is a former Hollywood detective celebrity who acts as Gordon's conscience, motivating the defeated man to stand his ground against the scum.

Christopher Nolan started something with his Dark Knight trilogy – that much is clear. The realism  of this brave new Gotham fills the page in Gary Frank's art. And the life Geoff Johns breathes into familiar characters proves that this new take should stick around. And shame on those of you who say that this is a bastardized version of a beloved icon. Most of you aren't old enough to fully appreciate Bob Kane's work to begin with. The fact that Batman has evolved so much in his time in the comic book universe is proof of that. This isn't our Batman. It wasn't meant to be our Batman.

You can pick up Batman: Earth One at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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